Showing up late, forgetting a copy of your resume, having a bad hair day…these are all reasons you might not feel as confident as you’d like to feel when you’re in your next job interview, but they won’t immediately disqualify you from getting the job. According to employers, the most detrimental blunders candidates make in interviews are often the most common.
Have you made any of these mistakes? Below are the top 10 things NOT to do in your next job interview. Avoid these pitfalls to set yourself up for a successful job interview and – even better – a potential job offer.
1. Appear disinterested.
Fifty-five per cent of hiring managers say appearing disinterested during the job interview is a deal-breaker in an interview, and it’s not hard to see why: If you act bored during an interview, how will you act on the job? Employers want somebody who will bring energy and focus to their team, and will engage with the job. Acting disinterested, or failing to show enthusiasm for the opportunity, only signals to employers that you’re not interested in the job—and they’ll find another candidate who is.
2. Dress inappropriately.
Clothing that is too tight, too casual or otherwise not appropriate for a professional setting can diminish one’s chances of getting the job, say 53 per cent of hiring managers. But before you accuse your interviewer of playing fashion police instead of interviewing you about your skills, remember why they even care about your appearance: They’re evaluating your judgment and how you’d appear to customers. Do you show you can fit in with company culture? Are you there to bring professionalism to the organization? Make sure you know the rules for appropriate workplace attire and dress accordingly.
3. Appear arrogant.
Arrogant behavior is a turnoff for 53 per cent of hiring managers. There’s a fine line between listing accomplishments and bragging. When discussing your career wins, frame them around how they furthered the company’s overall success. For example, state how your impressive sales numbers attributed to the company’s biggest year in earnings.
4. Talk negatively about current or previous employers.
Half of hiring managers (50 per cent) said speaking negatively about current or previous employers can be a red flag. After all, shy would they want to be your new employer when your old employer is taking all the blame for your career’s negatives? If there’s bad blood between you and an old employer or workplace, simply state a difference in personalities or work culture, and emphasize that this organization is a much better fit for both your strengths and weaknesses.
5. Answer a call or text during the interview.
Almost as rude as speaking negatively about old employers is checking or using your phone during an interview, according to 49 per cent of hiring managers surveyed. This is a simple fix. Do NOT use your phone at any point during the interview, as it’s rude and discourteous to your interviewer’s time. Turn it off (or on silent if you must have it on) before you enter the building or get on the phone or webcam for your in-person or digital interview.
6. Appear uninformed about the company or role.
You may think you can “fake it ‘til you make it,” but 39 per cent of hiring managers will disagree with your strategy if you appear uninformed about the company or the role you’re interviewing for. Before your interview, do your homework: Find out who will be interviewing you, the role’s main responsibilities, as well as what the company does, its mission and history. The extra effort will prove you are genuinely interested in the company and the role (and not simply blindly answering a job ad).
7. Avoid providing specific examples.
Thirty-three per cent of hiring managers say job applicants should provide concrete examples to back up their claims about their skills or experience. So instead of simply telling the hiring manager you are “hard-working, energetic, driven team-player,” use specific examples to demonstrate these attributes. For example, did you implement a new employee engagement perk or group? Did you earn recognition or awards for your achievements? Get specific when you’re explaining your strengths and achievements.
8. Ask generic questions (or none at all).
Similar to being ignorant to what the organization or role does, asking generic questions (or none at all) signals to the interviewer you probably don’t understand or aren’t interested in the job—which is a problem according to 32 per cent of hiring managers. Demonstrate your knowledge by asking specific questions about on-the-job duties, as well as any questions you may have about the organization or management style.
9. Provide too much personal information.
Oversharing is something to avoid, according to 20 percent of hiring managers. You don’t need to go into detail about personal hobbies or family anecdotes in an interview. Let your personality and confidence speak for themselves.
10. Ask the hiring manager personal questions.
While you want to feel a connection with the person who’s interviewing you, you want to avoid getting too personal, according to 17 per cent of hiring managers. Asking personal questions can quickly turn awkward and uncomfortable, and could indicate a lack of business etiquette. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and keep it professional.
Susan Ricker researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for CareerBuilder.